Seminar Series: Writing your Literature Review

I attended this seminar on Writing your literature review conducted for all new graduate research students in the Faculty of Engineering & IT. The session was conducted by Ms. Jane Moodie and it covered aspects such as: what is a review and the best way to structure and how write a good review.

Date: Monday 18 April, 2016
Time: 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Venue: Room 133/14 Alliance Lane (Building 72), Clayton

The session was conducted in an interactive manner and comprised of practical activities and I was able to relate the discussion to my current research experiences. The first half of the session focused was on when to do a literature review  and what do you want to learn from conducting your literature reviews?

We also learnt that in a research paper, literature review is used in the introduction (to discuss background and link to the gap), in the methodology (to justify the approach) and in the discussion ( to compare or interpret results).

In order to link the literature review to you own research (usually in the introduction of a paper), the argument can be introduced in the following manner (by starting with):

  1. Discussion with the research context.
  2. Overview of groups of important study.
  3. Studies closer to your own research
  4. GAP where you research fits in.

Additionally, the study can be grouped as:

  • from distant (topics) to close
  • different approaches employed
  • different analytical techniques used
  • combination of the above.

The session concluded with the following important message about how to conclude the writeup:

  • summarise what is known about this topic
  • summarise what is NOT known about this topic
  • identify an important GAP in current understanding
  • state clearly what is now needed (your study!)

The following is my diagrammatic interpretation of how a good literature review can be structured:


Fig 1: Structure of a literature review.

I found this session extremely beneficial and I look forward to employing these approaches in my research investigation and write-up.